Summer weather hit hard today in Kingsbridge inspiring me to post this archival photograph from a somewhat cooler day in the neighborhood. This photo shows the aftermath of an unanticipated Christmas blizzard in 1947. The team of snow-shovelers is shown working to clear the sidewalks around the Amalgamated Houses with what appears to be P.S. 95 in the background. Wouldn't a bit of that snow be a nice relief from today's steamy temperatures?
The Great Blizzard of 1947, according to Wikipedia, was a record-breaking snowfall that began on Christmas without prediction and brought the northeastern United States to a standstill. The snowstorm was described as the worst blizzard after 1888. The storm was not accompanied by high winds, but the snow fell silently and steadily. By the time it stopped on December 26, measurement of the snowfall reached 26.4 inches (67.1 cm) in Central Park in Manhattan.
Meteorological records indicate that warm moisture arising from the Gulf Stream fed the storm’s energy when it encountered its cold air and greatly increased the precipitation. Automobiles and buses were stranded in the streets, subway service was halted, and parked vehicles initially buried by the snowfall were blocked further by packed mounds created by snow plows once they were able to begin operation. Once trains resumed running, they ran twelve hours late. Seventy-seven deaths are attributed to the blizzard.
Drifts exceeded ten feet and finding places to place snow from plowing became problematic, creating snow piles that exceeded twelve feet. In Manhattan some of the snow was dumped into the sewers, where it melted in the warm waste water flowing to the rivers. When possible it was dumped directly into the Hudson River and the East River. Most suburban areas did not have such nearby alternatives to stacking the snow up. Low temperatures that winter led to the snowfall remaining on the ground until March of the next year.
Laura Myers, Director
Laura has been the Director of Van Cortlandt House Museum since September of 1994. She is innately curious about many things and takes advantage of her Material Culture focus to explore more deeply the collections of Van Cortlandt House Museum.